Pol­luters pres­sured

Re­vised law proves ef­fec­tive for en­force­ment, serves as de­ter­rent against would-be vi­o­la­tors

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.

China pun­ished more pol­luters in the first half of 2016 with stronger en­force­ment tools avail­able un­der the re­vised En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Law.

China flexed its muscles in the first six months of the year, pun­ish­ing more pol­luters with the stronger tools avail­able in the re­vised En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Law.

The new tools in­clude levy­ing daily fines, clos­ing pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, sus­pend­ing op­er­a­tions and trans­fer­ring par­ties to ju­di­cial or­gans.

More than 300 com­pa­nies were given daily fines due to pol­lu­tion, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said.

In ad­di­tion, 1,291 cases were trans­ferred to ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion for up to 15 days, an in­crease of 65 per­cent year-on-year, it said.

An­other 840 cases were trans­ferred to ju­di­cial or­gans for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Tian Weiy­ong, head of en­vi­ron­men­tal su­per­vi­sion un­der the min­istry, said, “The strong pun­ish­ments have re­duced pol­lu­tion ef­fec­tively, and bu­reaus na­tion­wide will con­tinue to im­ple­ment the law to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment in the sec­ond half of the year.”

In ad­di­tion to the strict reins on com­pa­nies dis­charg­ing pol­lu­tants, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion au­thor­i­ties have tar­geted pro­jects un­der con­struc­tion, re­view­ing their en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ments and other nec­es­sary doc­u­ments to con­trol pol­lu­tion at its source.

By the end of July, au­thor­i­ties had ex­posed 624,000 pro­jects vi­o­lat­ing laws and reg­u­la­tions, among which over 72,000 pro­jects were re­quired to shut down or stop con­struc­tion, the state­ment said.

The re­vised law has worked well in pun­ish­ing pol­luters and de­ter­ring other com­pa­nies since its im­ple­men­ta­tion in Jan­uary last year, with an ef­fec­tive im­prove­ment in the en­vi­ron­ment and sat­is­fac­tion from the pub­lic, ac­cord­ing to an assess­ment re­port from China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Law in March.

“En­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­i­ties have grad­u­ally taken bet­ter ad­van­tage of the stronger tools pre­sented by the law, and also given the law teeth,” said Wang Canfa, a pro­fes­sor in en­vi­ron­men­tal law at the univer­sity and a lead writer of the assess­ment re­port.

Wang said that 85 per­cent of the com­pa­nies that were pun­ished stopped pol­lut­ing, and in some ar­eas 95 per­cent of the com­pa­nies cor­rected their be­hav­iors.

He sug­gested au­thor­i­ties hire more in­spec­tors to fully im­ple­ment the re­vised law, which could greatly re­duce pol­lu­tion.

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